Kirstjen Nielsen Confronted by Protesters While Eating at Mexican Restaurant

“If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace.”

A group of demonstrators directed chants of “shame” and “apologize” at Kirstjen Nielsen, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, as she dined at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, DC on Tuesday, amid outcry over the Trump administration’s policy separating immigrant children from their parents at the border.

“If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace,” one demonstrator is heard shouting in a video recorded by members of the DC chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.

“How can you enjoy a Mexican dinner as you’re deporting and imprisoning tens of thousands of people who come here seeking asylum in the United States?” another asked.

Nielsen, who has become the public face of the administration’s immigration policy, largely ignored the protesters inside MXDC Cocina Mexicana, an upscale eatery in downtown DC. Her head remained slightly down through most of the protest as her security detail stood dividing the secretary from the group. At one point, she made a phone call.

Nielsen eventually left the restaurant with her security team.

“While having a work dinner tonight, the Secretary and her staff heard from a small group of protesters who share her concern with our current immigration laws that have created a crisis on our southern border,” Tyler Houlton, a department spokesman, said in a statement after the dinner concluded. “Secretary Nielsen encourages all—including this group—who want to see an immigration system that works, that contributes to our economy, that protects our security, and that reflects our values to reach out to Members of Congress and seek their support to close the terrible immigration loopholes that have made our system a mess.”

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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